One of the hottest trends in both the IT and wireless world is MDM or Mobile Device Management. This first started as part of the Blackberry offering a decade or so ago. For the first time, companies had true control over a mobile device when it was away from the office. Companies were able to control access to certain pieces of information, enforce corporate security policies and erase vital information if a device was lost or stolen.
Today, MDM services are hot, and they now include all mobile devices from smartphones to laptops to tablets. Corporate IT will never be the same, and the corporate world is much safer because of MDM. This got me to thinking.....is M2M the next frontier for MDM companies?
There are a few key reasons why MDM companies need to hop into the M2M business now.....(Please note, I know that a few MDM companies are talking about M2M already, so it appears that great minds think a like!)
There are a lot more M2M devices than there are people
First, this may not always be true, based on the nature of some companies. However, for most companies, the number of remote assets that can be monitored (ranging from vehicles to engines to remote access solutions) usually dwarfs the number of people in a company. So, if you are selling your product on a per-license basis, M2M solutions can usually add a significant amount of revenue potential.
Smartphones and M2M devices play well together in the sandbox
Many smartphone manufacturers are starting to get into M2M space (see RIM’s article). As such, we are starting to see many applications (both from M2M suppliers and from ERP system providers like SAP and Oracle) who are offering the ability to look at valuable information from M2M devices on smartphones and tablets. With the widespread usage of technology like NFC and Bluetooth, this link will only increase. It won’t take long before M2M data is routinely updated on a smartphone by just walking past a device.....in fact, I am sure that it is being done already!
Lack of M2M standardization = chance to own an emerging market
IT departments are busy places. While they may have started off as the place where new technology was introduced into companies, they have struggled to keep up with how they manage/secure the technology that they have now, let alone what might come out. IT departments love standardized tools, as it takes the worry out of how they communicate with and manage devices. With many IT departments having made the leap to deploying MDM solutions, I have heard from a few of them that they are dreading the idea of having to introduce another system to manage M2M devices, and they have asked why M2M devices cannot use a standard system that they have today for management. This is a huge opening for MDM players....with the BYOD movement having more presence in almost all corporations than the M2M movement, now is the time to have your solutions talk to M2M devices and have M2M players “forced” by their customers to have their devices work on your system.
They speak a common language....sometimes
Many M2M devices use common platforms, such as Windows and Linux. These are environments that share commonality with many of the devices that MDM manufacturers are used to working with today. I said “sometimes” as some of the devices in the M2M world are very simple and may not have a true operating environment that is familiar to MDM players.
M2M devices also have their “heads in the cloud”
As mentioned in a previous blog about CTIA, the world of M2M is definitely heading up to the clouds.....this is a common trend seen across all areas of the IT world and it definitely seems to be in the MDM space as well. Cloud-based application offerings are all over the web pages of most MDM players, and this plays well to matching up with where our space is going.
M2M devices don’t “forget their voicemail password on a Friday afternoon”
While MDM companies may not actually take the call at 5pm on a Friday of a long weekend from the user, their customers definitely do. When you give a smartphone to the average person, they are going to find ways to screw things up (I can say that, as I started off my career as a call centre person). An end users’ ability to mess things up is directly correlated to their level of curiosity! This means that there needs to be a lot of efforts on the part of MDM platform providers (read into this...development costs and customer training) on how to help prevent users from doing stupid things. M2M devices definitely are not as “curious” as humans.....they don’t tend to say “I wonder what happens if I click this” all that often and they don't have 5-year old children changing random settings on Saturday mornings. As such, they tend to be very stable and reliable. This makes for ideal customers for any platform (as you get the additional license revenue, but a lot less support costs to go along with it, making them very profitable customers).
From my chats with a variety of MDM players, it seems that all of them have M2M on their radar, and I think that this makes all the sense in the world. Having a common platform for all of a company’s remote devices really is the trend of the future. The big question is: Who will be the platform of choice? Will it come from one of the existing MDM players....will it come from an ERP company....or, will an M2M player step up with an MDM solution? Only time will tell, but it will be an exciting ride!
As always, let Novotech know how we can help with your M2M needs, such as antenna selection. You can visit our web page @ www.novotech.com. As well, feel free to reach out to me directly ....larry(@)novotech.com. You can also follow us on Twitter (@NovotechM2M) and you can follow me personally as well (@LBNovotechM2M).